Dwelling in Emptiness
"From the inner point of view, there is no real separation between perceiver and perceived or between subject and object. Instead, the perceptual and experiential world is understood as an energetic field that is ultimately empty of inherent existence, characterized by limitless space. Within that space, phenomena arise interdependently and fleetingly as the play of color and texture, which is experienced in a variety of ways. (...) From an inner point of view, there is no judgment, no conceptual overlay. Things are very simply what they are, but seen from a dynamic and appreciative perspective. Anger is just anger—hot, impatient, with no particular plotline or reason. There is a kind of beauty and sanity about anger just as it is, without the additional thoughts that generally arise to give anger its justification, solidification, or outward expression. Anger is completely sacred just as it is, a blazing dark red dot in space, vibrating with power."
- "Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism", Judith Simmer Brown
Very often it will happen, that people will come to me and ask me to interpret their synchronicities or to offer an explanation for what they believe is a symbolic, meaningful pattern happening in their lives. Indeed, there are times when it is necessary and good to observe the occurrences and notice the message we are being told, but like everything else related to the human mind, it has a tendency to transform into an obsession. Soon, nothing is allowed to exist outside of the direct relevance to one's self. Such a person may see a leaf fall in the autumn and ask: "What does it mean? Why did it fall?", thinking that the falling leaf has direct significance for them. It cannot be because the leaf simply must fall. It becomes a mania, a neuroticism in which step by step, a person cannot see the world as anything but an object to either "figure out" or manipulate. At the root of it, often, is fear of the unknown, fear of the darkness, void and silence. It is the fear of emptiness because in the vast space of emptiness everything is possible and there is nothing that human mind wants more and fears more than possibility.
Allowing the World to Be
"In my isolated mountain retreat of limitless appearances, remaining in the practice where the world and beyond arise as ornaments, I sustained the fundamental nature, free from fixating on hope and fear. Gazing upon my own true face – innate luminosity – I possess the instructions on self-liberation of appearances.
In my isolated mountain retreat of self-luminous detachment, resting in the practice of luminosity without clinging, I sustained the fundamental nature of self-emergent simplicity. Gazing upon my own true face – carefree openness – I have the teachings on self-liberation of destructive emotions." - "A Song of Amazement", Kunzang Dekyong Wangmo (1892 - 1940), Tibetan Buddhist teacher of Nyingma lineage.
There is an Ibn Arabi quote that I like to remember and it says: "The proof of the sweetness of the honey is the honey itself". Beyond the obvious meaning, what I also saw it in it was the message of: "The quality of a thing is the thing itself". There is no necessity for a thing to be anything more than it already is. There is no need to make it part of a plotline. It simply is and that is why it is sacred. The possession of sweetness within a honey should be a wonder of its own, a miraculous phenomena appearing out of the vastness of Emptiness, no less miraculous than the birth and death of the stars. The whole journey from bee to honey is miraculous too, but in the moment when a human mouth is to touch the honey, we do not have to engage the mind about the complex structure that brings honey into existence. We can simply experience the sweetness. Dwelling in the emptiness that is beyond space and time, beyond relating the phenomena to past or present, we allow the phenomena to show its inner truth. The perceiver and the perceived break the boundary between one another and there is nothing but the purity of the phenomena which arise in an never ending sequence, always new and always different.
To seek for a meaning and connection of the present phenomena with the past or the future is the most natural quality of a human mind. But, it is this same perception that after some time has him see the world as repeatable, predictable and boring. When everything is experienced only in relation to the future, one is in an eternal purgatory and preparation for paradise without ever getting there. When everything is experienced only in relation the the past experience, it brings nothing new. Anger is just the same anger one has felt thousand of times, tears are just tears that had been cried before - yet it cannot be the same anger, because the anger one feels today is not the anger one felt yesterday, and if one was only aware to engage with the anger instead of the thought of anger, they would see it is so.
On my own path, a very beautiful unfoldment was that my perception or mode of consciousness was simultaneously becoming that of a child and that of an old woman who has lived six thousand years. I felt I have seen anything - nothing can surprise me, there is nothing in the external world that could happen that would destroy my standpoint and center. It is not rigidity or control that makes it so, it is the flexibility and ability to surrender that makes every difficult experience possible to sail through. At the same time, I often would feel like a little child for who everything is eternally new - yes, I have eaten the ice cream before but it has never been this very ice cream I am eating today. It does not matter that I bought it from the same store, that the same person made it, for me it is new. When I buy it on a warm summer day, I sit on my balcony, enjoy the sun and eat it as if I had never had an ice cream before and will never have it again. And truly, at that moment, I have never had an ice cream before - the memory of past ice creams is absent, the hope of future ones too.
When the need for plotline and personalised meaning of anything disappears, we can finally allow the world to be. We can dwell in the sacred Emptiness, in the void without the need to control it. Something always fills it, a phenomena will always arise, but remaining in the emptiness rather than reaching out to identify with the phenomena creates an inner bliss. There is inherit sacredness in things just the way they are. Tears, laughter, suffering, release of suffering - they too are the leaves that fall and grow green again and there is no need to assign to them any other meaning, any other quality beyond that. William Blake in his "Milton, Plate", says: "There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find nor can his watch fiends find it, but the Industrious find This Moment & it multiply & when it once is found it renovates every Moment of the Day if rightly placed." - and here he echoes Sophia's Wisdom, the Wisdom of the unknowable, the irrational. The Void, the limitless space in which the Light is first made manifest sees every thrust of Light as new and non-repeatable. The life is in the moment it is experienced, not in the tomorrow or yesterday.
"He holds a mirror to His own Face and beholds His own Beauty. He is the Knower and the Known, The Seer and the Seen; No eye but His own has ever looked Upon this Universe." - Jami
When a mind's obsessive need to know and to shed light onto everything knocks on our door, it is important to be wise and know when to allow it and when it can truly shed light or when it can pour a light so potent that it will blind one's eyes. My personal impression has been that the wise are not those who know a lot or who give good advice, but that the most wise are those who know when to open the door and when to close it, when to turn on the light and when to sit in darkness, when to talk and when to remain silent. The ability to perceive and recognise the moment is the greatest manifestation of wisdom for me.
The mind can be soothed by remembering the Jami's poem, or the Meister Echkart's similar sentiment: "The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love." Perhaps there is no personal meaning in many of the things that occur to us and that we want to assign personal meaning to, so that we may narrow the vastness of the space. Perhaps the leaves do not fall for us and the birds do not sign for us. But even though they do not do it for you and me, they still do it. We can watch them do it without having to make their existences into a personal significance for us, we can let them have their own existences, beautiful and sacred even without us. Perhaps, we can mature enough to know that the world and its colours and phenomena are not a theatre specifically made for us.
But still, the One has given humans many gifts that it did not give other creatures. It is only a human who thinks of meanings of things, of their connection consciously and in this human is given a great privilege and that is to be the conscious witness of the miracle that surrounds him. The spectacle may not be for us personally, but the spectacle has been arranged by the One for the One and He borrows our eyes to look at Himself, borrows our perception to perceive Himself and all we have to do is create Emptiness in which He can become manifest.
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